Clive Thompson’s Wired article on Bram Cohen and BitTorrent is a good read, explaining a bit about how the technology works (pretty simple, but completely unknown to me before reading the article) and a bit more about how Cohen himself works.

I tend to shy away from the filesharing networks, but it’s been pretty much impossible to avoid noticing the excitement that BitTorrent has generated over the past year. Now that I understand the technology a bit better, it’s clear why it is so exciting — BitTorrent solves a problem that has plagued filesharing, that of asymmetric bandwidth (or the fact that most people’s internet connections allow them to download much faster than they can upload). One problem that BitTorrent did not deal with, though, has turned out to be its Achilles heel: the need for centralized sites which help organize the network, sites like SuprNova that are ripe for the picking by organizations that are threatened by (mostly) decentralized content distribution networks. The next generation of these networks looks to eliminate the need for any centralization whatsoever; the next version of SuprNova (eXeem) is rumored to do exactly this. It will be interesting to see how the technology works, and whether it will still remain reliable and reasonably easy to use.